LAWGENRL 458 - Pasifika Peoples and the Law: Critical Perspectives

Credit points: 15 points
Offered: First Semester
Contact hours: Lectures – 3 hours per week
Course Coordinator: Dylan Asafo
Prerequisite: LAW 211

Course description

It is undeniable that Pasifika peoples in Aotearoa New Zealand experience a number of disadvantages and inequalities. However, the complex relationships between these inequalities and the law are not fully understood and are rarely explored in legal education and scholarship. Therefore, this course aims to give students an understanding of these relationships by encouraging the use of critical perspectives to examine a range of socio-legal issues facing Pasifika communities in Aotearoa New Zealand today.

Lectures will be taught seminar style, with an emphasis on learning through class discussions. Guest speakers will feature and provide insight into areas of expertise. 

Content Outline


We will explore how Pacific cultural frameworks and critical approaches to scholarship (including Critical Race Theory, Latina/o Critical Legal Studies and intersectionality) can be used to develop critical perspectives on a range of socio-legal issues facing Pasifika communities in Aotearoa New Zealand today, including:

  • Issues in immigration
  • Inequities in health and wellbeing
  • Barriers to education
  • Housing inequities
  • Injustices in the criminal justice system
  • Media representation 
  • The experiences of Pasifika women in the legal system 

We will also explore what we can do to improve the lives of Pasifika peoples in Aotearoa New Zealand in our roles as law students, lawyers, legal scholars, politicians, judges and policy makers.



  • 1500 word Critical Response to Assigned Reading/News Article/Video (20%)
  • Class Presentation on Critical Response to Chosen Reading/News Article/Video (20%)
  • 4000 word Critical Response to Chosen Reading/News Article/Video (60%)​